Flexibility describes the ability of a joint to move through the normal range of motion, an ability that plays an important role in carrying out activities of daily living as well as in successful participation in many types of sport. Flexibility is in part an inherited characteristic, which can be improved with training, and differences in flexibility have been observed at the population level by gender (women are more flexible than men), race/ethnicity (blacks are more flexible than whites), and age (flexibility decreases with age). Athletes have long been advised to stretch before practicing or playing their sport on the grounds that such a practice would improve performance and prevent injuries. However, these benefits were asserted without supporting evidence, and recent research has suggested that ...

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